As Autocar put it: "It is less than a year since the Lancer Evolution V scalped Subaru's hottest Impreza and became the most astonishing saloon car we had ever driven. But the constant need to homologate new cars for rallying means that Mitsubishi has had to go back to its corporate shed and attempt the unthinkable; make the Evo V better". Announced in January 1999 [sales started at the end of that month], weights and dimensions for the Evolution VI were the same as those of the Evolution V.
The engine and gearbox were basically carried over [although there were a few subtle modifications and a new sump was adopted]. There were new OZ wheels, but they wore the same rubber, while the RS version continued on 15" rims. In reality, the main changes centred around revised aerodynamic appendages in order for the car to comply with the latest WRC regulations. The Evo VI featured a new front bumper with integrated grille [to meet the 1999 FIA regulations], seperate oil and brake cooling ducts [the oil cooler duct was on the offside only, just ahead of the wheel], smaller foglights, and an offset number plate to increase airflow to radiators; the front indicators were now clear.
Moving around the vehicle, the old side skirts were retained, but there was a new, smaller rear spoiler with twin blades [it was made smaller to comply with FIA guidelines]; beneath the spoiler, the rear light cluster garnish had gone. More spot welding and special adhesives were employed to further strengthen the body, with stronger front shock mounting points. The front and rear suspension underwent subtle revisions, with a lower roll centre, and an increased stroke and more forged aluminium parts for the rear. However, the Evolution V suspension could still be specified on the RS for those who entered gymkhana-type events. As for the engine, a larger air intake hose was fitted, and there was better breathing on the turbocharger [the GSR turbo was the same, but the RS used a TD05HRA- 16G6-10.5T unit with a more responsive titanium-aluminium alloy turbine blade]. A bigger oil cooler gave 23% better heat dissipation; the cooling system was also modified, and the lightweight pistons now incorporated oil cooling channels. A twin-plate clutch was listed as an option for the RS [an hydraulically operated, single-plate unit was the norm], while the AYC was improved via rally experience. The Brembo brakes [standard on the GSR, optional on the RS] were carried over from the Evolution V, although revised caliper shapes helped to increase strength. Ventilated at both front and back, the diameters were 320mm and 300mm. The interior was basically the same, although the Recaro seats were now black with blue inserts, with blue stitching on the familiar Momo steering wheel, the leather trimmed gearknob and gaiter. Blue faced gauges featuring white markings continued the theme. Factory options included PIAA foglights [not built in any more], mudflaps, headlamp trim, a carbonfibre rear wing and a carbonfibre oil cooler outlet duct garnish. The spare key came on a presentation plaque - quite novel.
A total of 7000 Evolution VI's were built. Autocar commented: "The world's greatest point to point missile just got better. Nothing can touch it across country, yet it's as practical as any other four-door saloon. Simply awesome". In June 1999, the Lancer Evolution VI limited edition was announced. This featured a number of Ralliart components, including an air suction and intercooler pipe set, a high performance air filter, sports exhaust and radiator and oil filler caps. The limited edition was sold through a small number of dealers in the Kanto [Tokyo Bay] area only; available in both GSR and RS guises. The "Zero Fighter" was another Ralliart special as was the Extreme.